Contact Us 0208 886 1008

Cartier History

Louis-Francois Cartier founded the legendary maison, by taking ownership of his master’s Parisian jewellery workshop.

Louis-Francois’ son Alfred assumes control of the brand. His three sons Louis, Jacques, and Pierre will create the Cartier image we know today.

Cartier creates the first ladies’ bracelet watch.

Louis Cartier moves the brand’s headquarters to Rue de la Paix. The brand will remain at this address until the present day.

The first Cartier wristwatch is created. Louis Cartier develops the Santos for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian flying legend. Santos-Dumont complains that pocket watches are unreliable and dangerous to use while flying, so Louis makes him a wristwatch with a square face and flat profile.

Cartier signs an agreement giving Edmond Jaeger exclusive rights to supply the brand’s watch movements. It is the first step in a history that will see Cartier watches utilising movements from all the top maisons de haute horlogerie: Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet and Movado. The brand now has offices in New York, St Petersburg and London.

Cartier introduces its Tortue and Baignoire watches.

The Cartier panther is born on a ladies’ watch. The image is created from paved diamonds and onyxes.

Another legendary luxury watch is created: the Tank, designed by Louis Cartier after seeing Renault tanks in action on the Western Front. The Tank will go on to become Cartier’s signature model, worn by some of the most famous women in history. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Diana and Angelina Jolie will all become fans of this piece.

The Mystery pocket watch, featuring hands that rotate on concealed crystal discs, is created.

Cartier makes a gift of one of its watches, at this time one of the smallest wristwatches ever created, to Princess Elizabeth II.

Jacques Cartier gives his personal London office to General de Gaulle, from which he founds the Free France movement.

Cartier celebrates its 100th birthday.

Cartier is bought by a group of investors, and ceases to be a family-owned company.

Cartier’s first collection of watches under the new ‘Les Must de Cartier’ slogan is revealed.

The Pasha de Cartier watch is revealed.

The legendary Cartier Tank receives its most famous update – the Tank Americaine. The longer, smoother case becomes an instant icon.

The Santos 100, Santos-Dumont and Santos Demoiselle watches are premiered, in celebration of the centenary of the Cartier Santos luxury watch.

View our newest Cartier watches in stock as well as the latest additions to our pre-owned luxury watch collection here.

Watch Brand Histories